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Archive for November, 2009

Talking to David Cook today, Carrie Underwood to perform at ‘CNN Heroes’ special

The news is pretty darn thin today on “Idol.” But I will be talking to David Cook today at 3 p.m. I’ll write up the interview for tomorrow. Carrie Underwood is also doing a press conference to promote her upcoming Christmas special on Fox. Cook will be on the special so I’ll ask him about that. Anybody wants to ask him a question, email me by 2:30 p.m. EST at rho@ajc.com. I may use it!

Here’s a positive review of his concert in St. Louis. (He’s coming to the Tabernacle Nov. 23):

As the show went on, Cook prowled the stage, making sure to pay attention to the crowd upstairs in the balcony and on all sides of the room. In fact, during the song “Declaration,” Cook unexpectedly left the stage, ran through the crowd to the back of the hall and upstairs, singing the final part of the song surrounded by enthralled supporters

The Detroit Free Press talked to him recently, too.

Q: You recently took in a Bruce Springsteen concert in New York, where he played his entire “Born to Run” …

Continue reading Talking to David Cook today, Carrie Underwood to perform at ‘CNN Heroes’ special »

Kris Allen’s new album, Danny Gokey’s Georgia connection w/ the single

kris-allen-album-cover

I got a copy of Kris Allen’s CD in advance. It comes out Tuesday.

My initial impressions of the pop-rock album: it should satisfy his fans and remains true to what we think about Kris — dollops of Jason Mraz and John Mayer with more soul. The 13 tunes are a mix of mostly mid-tempo rock songs with ballads. My early favorites include “The Truth,” which sounds like Daughtry, the pretty “Red Guitar” and the sadly emotive ballad “I Need to Know.” “Written All Over My Face” has top 40 potential. The only song I found really offputting is “Can’t Stay Away,” which tries to rock out but he isn’t really good at reallyh rocking out. His cover of Kanye’s “Heartless” is still amazing.

He spoke with Reuters about his album, which was recorded in multiple cities. He had a hand in writing several of the songs.

His single “Live Like We’re Dying” is struggling to get much airplay and does not appear to be a massive hit. But he feels it has potential:

“It’s got a really jumpy chorus that I …

Continue reading Kris Allen’s new album, Danny Gokey’s Georgia connection w/ the single »

Kellie Pickler goes red, Carrie Underwood loses to Taylor Swift at the CMAs

AP photo of Kellie Pickler on red carpet at the CMAs

AP photo of Kellie Pickler on red carpet at the CMAs

As a presenter at Wednesday night’s Country Music Awards,Kellie Pickler, for the first time, dropped the blonde and went reddish-brown . Shockingly, she looks good though I expect she’ll go back to blond soon enough. She also fills out her dress nicely, of course.

Later in the show, Randy Houser’s little son looked peachy keen happy sitting next to Pickler. The cutesy tot even gave her very presence a thumbs up. Good taste, young tyke!

Taylor Swift broke Carrie Underwood’s three-year stranglehold on Female Vocalist of the Year.

Underwood sang “Cowboy Casanova” in a questionable pink gown and spangly short shorts. But she manages to pull it off.

As host, she doesn’t have the comic chops of Brad Paisley, her co host, but the pair do have chemistry, which is why the CMAs brought them back. She did do the song parodies with aplomb, even the lame “Swife Flu” song in place of LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue.”

The other “Idol” connection is …

Continue reading Kellie Pickler goes red, Carrie Underwood loses to Taylor Swift at the CMAs »

Carrie Underwood gets spotlight on ABC with CMAs, nabs her 8th No. 1 country hit with ‘Cowboy Casanova’

carrie_underwoodcowboy

“Good Morning America” correspondent Robin Roberts (a former Atlanta sports announcer and radio host) interviewed Carrie Underwood for last night’s pre-CMA special.

She co-hosts the show again tonight with Brad Paisley. She’s up for female vocalist of the year and musical event of the year for her duet with Randy Travis. She has sold more than 10 million copies of her three albums. That third album “Play On” just came out last week and has sold about 300,000 copies its first week, a big total nowadays.

The first single off that album, “Cowboy Casanova” is No. 1 on the Mediabase 24/7 charts, her 8th No. 1 country hit. (Her two other singles peaked at No. 2).

In other words, she’s on top of the world professionally.

The segment doesn’t reveal much new for Carrie fans. But it’s still fun to re-live her journey from “Idol” four years ago until now. Roberts flew with Underwood to her hometown Checotah, Okla. They bowled at Fast Lane bowling, where she had her post-prom party. Her …

Continue reading Carrie Underwood gets spotlight on ABC with CMAs, nabs her 8th No. 1 country hit with ‘Cowboy Casanova’ »

Simon Cowell best paid man on American TV; Ryan Seacrest No. 3

AP photo credit

AP photo credit

Forbes reports that Simon Cowell is the richest man on TV. Between June 1, 2008 and June 1, 2009, the magazine estimates he took home a hefty $75 million.

Ryan Seacrest came in third (behind Donald Trump’s $50 million) with $38 million. We don’t really need to summarize what these two guys do. They do plenty beyond “Idol” to take home bucks.

No. 4 is Charlie Sheen at $21 million and Steve Carell at No. 5 with $20 million.

Diana DeGarmo’s gig on Broadway
-starring on “Toxic Avengers” is set to end January 3, 2010 when the show shuts down.

-Shocking nobody, Kris Allen has left “No Boundaries” off his album but included a cover of “Heartless,” according to a story in New York magazine.

One track that’s not on the album is “No Boundaries.” Why not?
I think there was a discussion about it. But we felt like we had a lot better stuff than that song to go on the album.

Kat mcphee lifetime

-This is the cover of Kat McPhee’s latest song “Lifetime.” She looks a bit like a blonde Sandra …

Continue reading Simon Cowell best paid man on American TV; Ryan Seacrest No. 3 »

New Danny Gokey single, Kellie Pickler on ‘Extreme Makeover’

Danny Gokey’s first single “It’s Only” came out last week on a Milwaukee country radio station.

According to mtv.com, the single was written by members of Lady Antebellum and produced by Mark Bright (who has worked with Carrie Underwood.). Gokey’s album is set to be released by RCA Nashville in March of next year.

The song details the trials of the jobless and the homeless and doesn’t shy away from the topic of faith, either (sample line: “Repo man’s gonna take his van/ Bobby’s givin’ up on God”).

Here’s the interview, with a low-quality recording of the song, which starts at about the 4 minute mark. Naturally, it’s a ballad. We knew Danny loves his ballads. It’s signature Danny. Will it get radio airplay? I have no clue, but country radio has been especially kind to “Idol” folks. What do you think?

kellie-extreme

-Shame on me! I didn’t realize Kellie Pickler was going to be on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” last night and did not DVR it. MJ has some clips. Pickler helps out an …

Continue reading New Danny Gokey single, Kellie Pickler on ‘Extreme Makeover’ »

Kris Allen video for ‘Live Like We’re Dying’ is out, David Cook interview forthcoming

kris allen video

The winner of this year’s “American Idol” now has a video for his single “Live Like We’re Dying.” Yah, that Kris Allen guy. His single has yet to make it to the top 40 and is now at No. 42 on the Hot AC charts. At least it’s still climbing. It’s actually a pretty catchy tune, even if the title evokes that Tim McGraw song.

In the video, Kris sings in what appears to be an abandoned warehouse with a black grand piano, ripped drapes, wind tunnels and a clock that is ticking downward. The song title says it all.

-I’ve procured an interview with David Cook next week. Please email me your questions for him at rho@ajc.com. Cook fans, please send this out to the fan pages so we can spread the word! He’s coming to the Tabernacle on November 23.

- The parent company of “American Idol,” CKX Inc. reported a fall in revenue of about $10 million in the third quarter. It was related to a dropoff in “Idol” tour sponsorship (note those Pop Tarts were absent) and reduced music and …

Continue reading Kris Allen video for ‘Live Like We’re Dying’ is out, David Cook interview forthcoming »

Ryan Seacrest has new reality show: regular folks beg famous folks for cash! And Idol tweets!

MelodyThornton-01-big

Hollywood Reporter says Ryan Seacrest is producing a new reality show in which average citizens beg for cash from celebrities and moguls.

The eight-episode run will start Dec. 14 on E!

In “Bank of Hollywood,” a panel of notable names takes pitches from Americans in need of cash. The proposals range from a do-gooder raising money for charity to a grad student who can’t afford a ring to propose to his girlfriend. “The idea’s simple,” Seacrest said. “We are giving away tons of money to everyday people to alleviate the stress of today’s climate and have fun.”

Okay, these so-called celebrities are not exactly A List. The story lists folks like Candy Spelling (Tori’s mom), poker player Vanessa Rousso, Wilhelmina Models president Sean Patterson and Pussycat Dolls singer Melody Thornton. Yes, that’s a Pussycat Doll nobody remembers! (But I posted a gratuitous picture of her above left anyway!)

-Jason Castro proposed to his girlfriend over the weekend and she said yes. He started …

Continue reading Ryan Seacrest has new reality show: regular folks beg famous folks for cash! And Idol tweets! »

Ryan Seacrest stalker pleads not guilty

Credit: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Credit: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The man accused of stalking Ryan Seacrest pleaded not guilty yesterday in court to felony stalking.

Chidi Uzomah Jr., who is 25 (but looks 40 in his ever attractive mug shot) has been ordered to stay at least 500 feet away from Seacrest for the next three years, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Uzomah is a sergeant with the Army Reserves and part of the special forces.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Nathan Banks told TMZ, “We apologize to Ryan Seacrest. Pending the outcome of the local investigation, the Army will decide what further action to take. We take all matters of our personnel seriously.”

This is the price of fame, unfortunately. We have no clue what his rationale for going after Seacrest is.

- I attended the taping of the Soul Train Awards last night at the Georgia World Congress Center. Fantasia was there to fete Chaka Khan, who received a lifetime achievement award. She did her usual vocal theatrics. I videotaped a few seconds of …

Continue reading Ryan Seacrest stalker pleads not guilty »

Carrie Underwood’s third album ‘Play On’ out Tuesday

Music Review Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood is doing the big media barrage to promote her third album “Play On.”

She broadened the types of producers she used for this album, including Kara DioGuardi, Canadian singer songwriter Chantal Kreziazuk and Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida, according to a piece in USA Today. She also worked with Max Martin, who is the kingpin for the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Britney Spears and more recently, Adam Lambert. “Cowboy Casanova,” her latest hit, was coproduced by Mike Elizondo, who has worked with Nelly Furtado and Pink.

“I’d take some other small element and bring it into our world to see what we could do with it,” Underwood says. “Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but I think it ended up being different and progressive.”

And here’s more thoughts from an AP story:

“Play On” is still very much country — there’s banjo, pedal steel and mandolin — but Underwood has added different musical textures, which points to her maturation as an …

Continue reading Carrie Underwood’s third album ‘Play On’ out Tuesday »